Speaking of the Grand river, it was very interesting to read in the LSJ that the water in the river is quite clean, and is cleaner than the water in Lake Michigan! I grew up in the bad old days when we were told to not even touch the water. I would have a problem eating fish caught there, but it is good to see that people who do eat fish they catch do not have to worry too much about it. The river is as low as I have ever seen it below the damn. I was thinking it would be a good time to clean up some of the fallen trees and such from the banks now that you can walk down there.
I've been meaning to comment on the water level between REO Town and Old Town. The only time I've ever seen it this low was when they purposefully lowered it in 2007.
I know we are in a dry spell but I think[I don't know this for sure] they keep the water level high up stream for the boat tours, so both together adds up to very low water below the damn. The water is very clear at this level and the you could imagine how the river might have run before they damned it up. I saw a great number of large fresh water clams on the bottom, which indicates that the water is indeed pretty clean.
A new "paint-less dent repair" service has opened in the former detail shop at Hazel and S. Washington. Not exactly exciting but they have painted the place and planted flowers so the building looks better. I am glad it not a used car lot or MMJ shop, I wish it was a corner store/deli. I just paid my car off last month and have found a little dent for the first time, maybe I'll give the new folks a call.
So I drove through the REO town from Mt. Hope/Washington Ave recently and was pleasantly surprised with how nice things are looking. It really seems like that new coffee shop anchors the corner it occupies, and is helping to pull in daytime foot traffic. Almost all of the storefronts are occupied, and the Riverwalk Church facade is done. Even near Mt. Hope, there has been lots of sprucing up. The old poolhall is occupied, and it even looks like that long abandoned fast food joint near Barnes ave. is getting fixed up.
I'm a big believer in REO Town. I think that whole area is going to keep improving. It's got a nice mix. You've got the modern/hipster vibe on Washington, and then nearby you've got classics like LeRoy's, Corey's, Lucky's, Sholty's and Fleetwood Diner, not to mention the Federated Polish Home down the road on Mt. Hope. I feel like it's the most "Lansing" urban area. Moores Park is such a Lansing park... I love it, and the automotive history of REO Town is quintessentially Michigan.
The East Side will always have a college element to it, and Old Town is great but has always felt "touristy" to me, for lack of a better word. Old Town is fun to visit but it doesn't have that down home neighborhood vibe. It's like its own little world.
I have lived in REO-town for a couple of years and even in that short time the neighborhood has really change for the better. You are right the near south side of Lansing is a unique area of residential and industrial neighborhoods which are still mainly intact. I would like to see the growth start to spread to the side streets and on Cedar and up to Mt Hope, upgrading homes and businesses that need it. We could still use a bank branch, and a super market/deli.
I agree with you both - I think REO town is on the upswing, and I look forward to some sustainable growth spreading to the neighboring commercial and residential areas. I did notice that Cedar/Mt. Hope is getting slowly more cleaned up, with fresh paint and panels on a number of the buildings over there. Some more infill on the vacant lots would be nice. It would also really be great to see the houses in the east/southeast end of the Moore's Park get some more attention too. There's a pretty noticeable gradient of declining upkeep as you drive east/west along Barnes ave or south from Moore's Park. I would think getting some energetic younger folks to move into the neighborhoods around REO town might help with that.
One other thing I think would help beautify the "urban center" of Lansing would be to gradually move all of the old industrial businesses (petroleum supply, paint stores and so forth) and city maintenance operations off of the riverfront properties near the confluence of the Red Cedar and Grand, and convert these to park spaces, event spaces, more museums, etc. that would be easily accessed from the river bike path system. This would need to be a long-term, concerted effort by the city and local businesses, but the payoff would be fantastic. Particularly as Lansing has miles of underdeveloped riverfront property in the heart of the city.
I agree that REO Town is doing pretty well, things seemed to come together quickly after the streetscaping on Washington. I think the area is set up well to continue improving, the Fabulous Acres and Baker-Donora neighborhoods are rough and will likely continue to be but the Moores Park neighborhood and virtually everything south of Mt Hope is pretty decent and has been very stable over the years.
The Cedar St corridor has always been decent and seems to be improving, the stretch between Mt Hope and Cavanaugh in particular offers opportunities for some cool reuses of older buildings and the potential for some mixed use buildings. Going south, Cedar has always had some stable,well maintained suburban style strip malls and I expect that to continue. I expect that we'll see the Kmart property redeveloped and with that we may finally see some the more rundown sections between Northrup and Miller get some attention. Kinda off on a tangent there, but I think the growth in REO Town will do a lot to benefit the Cedar St corridor, it could really serve as an image boost for the south side.
I also wanted to add that I saw surveyors out at the Deluxe Inn site today, it's a small sign that the hotel (or something) there is moving forward.
Yes I saw them too. I was wondering if the hotel is really going in there? That would be really great to see this happening. Across the street, you can see the new "Sunken Garden's" wall from the river trail behind Fountain Place. It will be "OK" but the view from that area will be very industrial, with lots of parking lots. We do have a lot of great parking lots here so I guess it will be a very Lansing view.